Monday, September 26, 2011

Preparing Plein Air Panels


While considering what to bring on a painting trip I looked at buying plein air panels to paint on. They tend to be light and small - great for carrying and it seems a good idea keep luggage weight as low as possible while traveling. And since  there are slots to carry thin panels built into my painting box, I might as well use them. My other criteria were that they be quality material, archival, and cruelty free. In other words I wanted oil primed linen mounted on a board - not on a paper or foam product. Inexpensive would be nice also!

I finally found what seemed like the perfect product, oil primed linen, mounted on a board. I ordered a half dozen. They arrived and as I was about to tear into the plastic wrapping, I noticed that the label stated "primed with rabbit skin glue". Fortunately the supplier agreed to take them back. I never did find the product with the exact specifications I wanted, but I did find Art Boards Plein Air - Archival Mounting Panels. These are a thin maple board coated with a heat activated reversible archival adhesive. I have plenty of small pieces of oil primed linen - trims left over from stretching larger surfaces, so using these I've tried them out and I'm happy to say they are quite easy to use. The boards need to be briefly heated: two minutes at 250 degrees - an oven works great - then press the linen (or canvas, or paper, or whatever you are using) to the adhesive surface while it cools. Once it has cooled to about 150 degrees or so, the bond is made. I also tried the reversal to see if it really worked - and it does. All you need to do is reheat the panel and while it is still warm the linen lifts right off.

I used mini clips to press the edges of the linen to the adhesive surface.

I'll also bring along some pieces of unstretched linen to tape or clip to a board as I work that I can stretch back in the studio.

3 comments:

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Artists are nothing if not resourceful. Good for you for continuing to search until you got the thing you wanted. I have never heard of these panels and I'm intrigued. Thanks for demonstrating how they work.

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks Elizabeth! I'm happy to have found them - they've been working out well so far.

Just Life Like What you Want said...

wow lovely. .my thumbs up. .:)